Famous People of the Old West, Researching Historical Fiction

Annie Oakley: Little Sure Shot in action

Annie Oakley_Buffalo Bill poster

While we’re on the subject of Annie Oakley and her shooting prowess, PBS’ American Experience did an excellent show on her a few years back. Here’s the transcript.

Sitting Bull nicknamed her Little Sure Shot (Watanya Cicilla), and she was incredibly accurate, only missing when it was part of her act. She would shoot glass balls thrown in the air, the thin edge of playing cards, dimes, the flame from a candle and the ashes off the cigarette in the mouth of her husband, Frank Butler.

According to HistoryNet: “On November 3, 1926, she died of pernicious anemia at the age of 66. Frank mourned so deeply he stopped eating and died 18 days later on November 21.”

You can watch footage of Oakley shooting online. The film was taken by Thomas Edison’s studio in 1894 and is the same film people would have paid a nickel to see at one of those new-fangled Kinetoscope parlors.

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